Dear Thirty-Five-Year-Old Guy Friends Who Date Twenty-Four-Year-Olds and Complain to Me About It,

You know I love you. I’ve known you since we had plugs in our earlobes and watched LOST on DVD. I’ve seen you through dating our friends, breakups, etc. But now, I notice you’re with a new girl. She’s super into you, may/may not Tweet about how “grateful” she is to spend any bit of time with you, and she’s 24. She might work in retail, she might be an Instagram model, she might have a cool apprenticeship, but she definitely has a septum piercing. And you say she’s “mature for her age.” This is all great — I’m happy if you’re happy (although her face looks sixteen, which makes you kinda creepy, but to each their own right?), but every time we hang out, you complain about her. How she doesn’t understand stuff, doesn’t know who the Ninja Turtles are, doesn’t get your Wayne’s World references, wants to spend too much time together, she lives with her parents. She wants to tag you in everything, and you’re too old for this you say. Then you return to her for the weekend, you guys get french fries, and she gets mad about a Facebook photo, you fight, you talk it out. And then you complain about her to me.

Hey, I get it, to each their own, but don’t rope my pre-middle-aged ass into your existential disconnect. Young is hot and hot is young, and youth is wasted, etc. but wouldn’t you rather hang with someone who understands the discrepancy between Rancid and Op Ivy? Who uses “MacGyver” as a verb? Who knows what a ditto is? Someone who had an OG R2D2 collection, grew up playing original Tetris, and authentically loved The Legend of Billie Jean? Nah. Sounds boring. You know what, bud? Instagram kind of ruined you. It gave you proximity to these young, already self-objectifying beings, and now a rad woman your age just isn’t a shiny enough stamp.

Wanna know the fun part, broham? I once was the 24-year-old girl who dated the older dude. And back then, I thought I was pretty special for doing it. I didn’t realize that I was just a fun trophy to bring around the friends. The worst part about being that girl is she’s usually insecure. And what you think is just a fun game can actually affect her deeply. Because she still hasn’t figured out exactly who she is yet. (And that’s OK, normal even.) She looks at your friends who are your age whose mouths are smiling but eyes are laughing, and she just doesn’t get it. Not until a decade later, and she’s watching it from a different position on the board.

So, do what you want, friend, just don’t come running to me with your new case of HPV, when you’re tired of way too many emojis and an overabundance of “witchy vibes.”

And in the interim, I’mma BRB — I’mma find me a long-haired 24-year-old metalhead boy named “Ambrose” to follow me around. I’ll hit you up when we’re fighting over who’s gonna pay for the student-discount movie night.